The Secret Diamond SistersBy: Michelle Madow
“Are you sure you didn’t have any champagne while I was sleeping?” Peyton snickered and plugged her earbud back in.
Courtney opened her mouth as if she wanted to retaliate, but of course she didn’t. Arguing with Peyton was pointless. Peyton never listened to anyone.
“Maybe you’re right,” Savannah said to Courtney. “He did send a limo. He wouldn’t have done that if he didn’t care about us.”
“Yeah.” Courtney frowned, her forehead creasing in thought.
Savannah didn’t like seeing her so worried. She wasn’t used to feeling like she had to take care of her sisters. Usually it was the other way around. Her throat tightened, and while she wanted to say something comforting, she had no idea what would help. Instead, she looked out the long window in front of her, the sun lighting up the cloudless California day. The limo exited the highway and passed a large sign announcing their arrival at Napa Valley Airport. There were barely any other cars around, and the airport was small. Only a few boxy buildings and planes were up ahead, and beyond that, the rolling hills of the vineyards in the countryside.
“Is it just me, or does this place seem deserted?” Savannah asked.
“Napa Valley is a private airport,” Courtney said. “I don’t think they have commercial flights.”
“No commercial flights?” Savannah repeated. Because if the airport didn’t have commercial flights, they only had private ones. And that would mean...
Savannah’s stomach swooped at the possibility, and she leaned closer to the window. Could her guess about their father be right?
The road widened, and her heart thumped as they approached the buildings. The limo drove past a few planes—some small, some large—and came to a stop.
Towering in front of them was the biggest private jet of them all, the gold lettering along the side spelling three distinct words:
Diamond Resorts Worldwide.
Adrian Diamond was their father.
Courtney stepped out of the limo and stared at the jet. If this plane was for them, sent by their father...then Savannah was right. Courtney had always dismissed her younger sister’s fairy-tale notion that the infamous hotel owner Adrian Diamond could be their father, never considering that Savannah could be right. But unless the limo driver had accidentally picked them up instead of three other Diamond sisters living in a run-down apartment in Fairfield, California—this jet was for them.
Not believing what she was seeing, Courtney examined Savannah’s reaction. Her younger sister had frozen, her mouth dropped open. A breeze blew some of her dark blond hair across her forehead, and she pushed it behind her ears, her eyes fixed on the jet. Courtney would have laughed if she didn’t feel as astonished herself.
“Are you the Diamond sisters?” A low voice belonging to a large man in a white suit pulled Courtney out of the shock. His black hair had been slicked back with enough oil to fuel the plane, and he had one of those square jaws she associated with football players.
She would have assumed he was their father, but his dark features bore no resemblance to their own.
“Yes.” Courtney looked him in the eye and stood straighter. “I’m Courtney. This is Peyton and Savannah.”
“I’m Captain Rogers.” He held out a strong hand in greeting. Courtney shook it, then quickly dropped her arm back to her side. “I’ll be taking care of you today.”
So he wasn’t their father. Adrian Diamond must have more important things to do with his time than pick his daughters up himself.
Not that Courtney expected much from the man who hadn’t spoken to them in fifteen years. She didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but he had some major explaining to do when they met. Courtney didn’t know how she was going to handle that. What could he say to make it okay that he’d disappeared from their lives? There was no good reason for that, especially for someone as well-off as Adrian Diamond. What could have happened for him to want nothing to do with her or her sisters? For him to have abandoned them?
Her head spun, and realizing her breaths had become shallow, she forced herself to inhale deep and gain control of the situation. She would handle this like she handled everything—one step at a time. There had to be a logical reason why Adrian Diamond hadn’t been involved in the lives of his three daughters.
But as much as Courtney hated to admit it, they could have used his support. If he’d helped them out growing up—just a little bit—she had no idea how different her life would be. She hadn’t minded getting a job to help her family, but if she’d had more time to focus on her studies instead of having to pick up extra shifts to pay bills, her grades and practice SATs would have been better. They weren’t bad—she had a 3.76 GPA and her practice test scores were above the 90th percentile—but with more time to study, she could have improved.
Courtney wrapped her arms around herself and looked up at the plane. All she could do now was focus on meeting her father. Peyton was so angry, and Savannah was so hopeful, that neither of them could approach this rationally. Her sisters needed her to be the one in charge.